Remarks by AIT Director Christopher J. Marut at Opening Ceremony for the Mobile American Corner and the “AIT in the Community” Exhibit

AIT Director Christopher J. Marut (center), China Motor General Manager Hsing-tai Liu (left), and CommonWealth Foundation Chairwoman Diane Ying, pose with a ceremonial key at AIT’s new Mobile American Corner on April 30, 2013 at the Taipei Main Stat (Photo: AIT)

(As Prepared for Delivery)

Director General Linghu, Chairman Ying, Vice President Hsieh, Chairman Huang, Mr. Liu, honorable guests, ladies and gentlemen:

I am so excited to be here today for the opening of the Mobile American Corner, the first digital mobile American Corner in the global American Corner family. Since 2008, AIT has teamed up with the CommonWealth Magazine Education Foundation to place American Shelves — collections of books about the United States — on board the “Read for the Future” bookmobiles that visit schools throughout the island.

Building on the success of this cooperative project, we are pleased to unveil this “Mobile American Corner.” Currently, there are 465 cities around the world hosting the growing network of American Corners, but this will be the first mobile, digital American Corner.

In addition to a special youth-oriented American collection, there will be iPads, touch screen PCs, and a 60” TV on the mobile. The digital video conferencing equipment will allow students in remote areas to connect with students in the United States, and the ebooks on the touch screen PCs and iPads will provide an interactive environment for English learning and reading. The Mobile American Corner provides an innovative platform for outreach to young people and the general public throughout Taiwan, allowing AIT and our partners to expand our reach and touch even more people.

I hope the American Corner can play an important role in making sure that we continue to stay close and connected — and most importantly, listen to each other and understand each other better.

This project is just one of the ways that AIT is working to reach out to the community. Many of you know that we received a very positive response last year to our outreach campaign which brought AIT officers to Taiwan’s night markets to explain the U.S. Visa Waiver Program. We have also expanded our online and social media outreach. Many of the efforts that we are involved in are featured in our new exhibit “AIT in the Community.” I would like to extend an invitation to all of you to visit this exhibit currently in the main hall of the Taipei Train Station until May 6. The exhibit highlights AIT’s engagement in the community by highlighting activities throughout Taiwan through photographs.

Finally, I want to thank and congratulate everyone who has made this day possible: Chairman Ying and the CommonWealth Foundation for your long-term support, China Motor Corporation for donating the truck which gave our American Corner wheels, Chunghwa Telecom for contributing WIFI equipment and manpower, as well as the Hon Hai Foundation for contributing a 60” TV and 10 iPads to create a digital environment for the Mobile American Corner. I look forward to seeing all of you at our “AIT in the Community” exhibit and our American Corners – both in libraries and on the road.